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Cataract Falls is the perfect hike for everyone!  No matter what your age, everyone who takes the short, peaceful stroll through flat lands to gets to these falls enjoys each short step it takes to get there!

Cataract falls is the perfect hike for children, senior adults, or anyone interested in a short walk through the woods

This Cataract Falls Sign Takes You To The Falls!!

Located a half mile behind the Sugarlands Visitor's Center at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, these falls are about a fifteen minute walk, or 0.1 miles down a scenic trail.  (Before hiking to Cataract Falls, you'll want to be sure and visit Sugarlands!  It has a wildlife museum, and gift shop, and lots of interesting information about the mountains.  And during the month of June, Sugarlands offers trolley tours to Elkmont to see the famous Firefly Mating Show.)

The Cataract Trail is smooth before changing into a dirt path.
Cataract Falls is located behind Sugarlands Visitor's Center located just beyond the gateway to the Smokies.

This short hike is enjoyed by most all who experience this trail, however it's not  a hike that goes deep into the woods.  From beginning to end,  you're surrounded by civilization, and you'll see automobiles, parking lots, and area development throughout the whole journey.  During the spring and summer months, you meet a lot of people coming back and forth.  When asked if seeing the falls was worth the walk, they all agreed Cataract Falls is a beautiful sight to see.

The Cataract hiking trail is a short, relaxing walk for young children, and older adults.
Enjoy an exquisite view from the Cataract Falls BridgePhoto Courtesy: Malia Lane

The walk is down a dirt path that's flat with a foot bridge crossing a creek.  You'll pass a tree that appears quite unusual in that it has a hollow area so big that a child could fit inside.  As a matter of fact, many times they do fit inside.  This old tree is a popular play-place for children.  Another fun thing to do is watch as they play along the bridge.  It's built sturdy so parents don't have to worry about it crashing down.  

An interesting sight in the Smokies is this Cataract Falls treePhoto Courtesy: Malia Lane
The Cataract Underpass is short and narrow.

As you move along, the creek merges into a bigger creek and leads underneath a road bridge.  There's a short staircase that leads directly to the falls.  The view is worth the short hike, however, you're not going to see the kind of waterfall the Smoky Mountains are famous for.  What you will see is rushing waters cascading down the rocks carrying a relaxing, serene sound that will remind you that you are indeed in the mountains.  As with all waterfalls, these falls flow much heavier after a good Smoky Mountain rain.  As you walk through the under bridge it's a good idea to move slowly as it may slippery. 

Enjoy a nice climb up the  Cataract stairs.

Smokies Adventure has lots of great information on other waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you may be interested in visiting!


At Smoky Mountain Heartsong our desire is to help you plan the perfect vacation and feel the presence of God as you experience His awesome creation!!  We'll show you exciting places, share ideas, and offer helpful tips so that you'll be in-the-know  about everything that happens here!  

Come To Me, All Ye That Labour And Are Heavy Laden, And I Will Give You Rest. - Matthew 11:28